As i have posted before, the age of industrial agriculture is passing and will be seen as a blip in history. The future is complete organic methodologies supported by robot supported hardware. A robot pulling weeds and collecting noisome insects works and is possible.
Plenty of other hardware solutions are easily worked up as well. All this is easier and generally superior to grinding human labor.
If humanity manages every square mile of land optimally our global population will be 100 billion easily and all will be engaged..
Beijing, China - We'd been driving for an hour and a half since leaving central Beijing when the car suddenly slowed to a halt. "This isn't exactly where the GPS told me to go, but I think it's the place," says the driver.
Being community-focused, CSA farms are run under organic or biodynamic principles. A key element of CSA is its shared risk, membership-marketing structure, which helps to financially protect farmers while linking them directly to consumers.
"I was searching for a real-world solution to this problem," says Yan. "But it changed my life. It wasn't only a workable business model, it's a lifestyle."
Yan tells me the key is managing the soil quality. "Take humans, for example," she says. "If you're healthy when you get a cold, you're able to recover naturally and faster. With farms, the most important thing is healthy soil. If the soil is carefully maintained, then the diversity and quality of the produce is also good and you can deal with problems better."
Located in the suburbs of Beijing, an otherwise quiet outdoor shopping centre is transformed into a makeshift organic market [Katrina Yu/Al Jazeera]
"It will be a disaster if China doesn't take responsibility to make a shift. There should be a diversion of public investment into a smarter way that considers sustainability," says Wang, adding that she would like to see more funding for CSA farming.
Some trace China's organic farming origins to the 1990 government "Green Food" certification programme, which marked certain produce not as "organic" but rather, "high-quality and pesticide-controlled food". It was developments in this programme that later led to the formation of the country's first organic certification bodies.
According to organic trade fair Biofach, the penetration of organic produce in China remains a drop in the ocean, accounting for just 1.01 percent of total food consumption. But it's growing fast, with that number nearly triple 2007's 0.36 percent.
Chang, a former journalist who joined the team four and half years ago, is credited with spreading the message of the farmers' market to the wider community. "At the beginning, people didn't really understand what we were trying to do and who we are. So we did a lot of education and advocacy via social media," says Chang.
"The elderly come out of curiosity and keep coming because they say the food tastes more like the food they used to eat when they were young," says Chang. "But a typical farmers' market shopper is a young parent in their 30s who wants to know that the food they're feeding their family is safe."
At the market, Chang says, customers talk to farmers, and some even visit the farms. "It builds trust," she adds.
|The elderly come out of curiosity and keep coming because they say
the food tastes more like the food they used to eat when they were
young. But a typical farmers' market shopper is a young parent in their
30s who wants to know that the food they're feeding their family is
Back at Shared Harvest, I'm introduced to a member of her team, another "new farmer", Wang Chong. The 24-year-old is responsible for leading the packing of produce into boxes to be delivered to farm members, as well as growing the produce in some of the greenhouses. "When I first arrived earlier this year, the winter melons were just sprouts. Now, they're about a metre high," he says proudly.
Over the past five years, Wang has been shocked by the amount of pollution and waste he has seen
in the country [Al Jazeera]
"I don't think there's anything low about being a farmer," muses Wang. "It's not like we don't have any pressure to do well, it's just a different kind of pressure. Working in other jobs, you might be staying up late and having a lot of anxiety. Here, it's about solving problems. For example, 'Are the chickens laying enough eggs? Is there an issue with the tomatoes?' This is the kind of stress I can deal with, and the work feels positive overall."